Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Feedback: Free-4-All

Me, and a bunch of TPoG things...


I forgot it was Friday.

Or remembered, but forgot about Feedback.

Or remembered, but was too busy swimming.

And writing.

And parenting.

And working.

And playing* Settlers of Catan.

After weeks of lamenting, it's here: it's truly the last two weeks of summer here in NY.

My older son enters his senior year of high school. My younger his first year.

I'm having a hard time fathoming that.

And tomorrow I attempt my first-ever five mile swim.

So, yeah, I'm a bit distracted. ;) But, I'm here, it's just a bit of a free-for-all! So, do what you want in the comments, though follow the RULES if you're new (Just don't be that guy who posts how he hates American women. Because YOU I will delete. ;))

Otherwise, post a snippet. Ask a question. Tell me your favorite book.
Here's a still-rough bit from the part of the ms I'm working on now called (before John Green's last book came out) In Sight of Stars (bite me, John Green, I'm not changing it).
            As we head through the park, she’s still holding my hand.
I keep waiting for her to extract her fingers, to realize she’s made some mistake, being with me here, this way. But she doesn’t. She keeps it there, squeezes her fingers in mine.
At Bethesda Terrace, I lead her over to the winged sculpture, Angel of the Waters.  It’s my favorite place in the city.
As the mist falls on our faces, I explain how the angel is supposed to represent the purification of the city’s water supply, and how there’s a guy whose job it is to clean out the coins from the bottom of the fountain every day.
“It’s kind of crazy how you know all this stuff. Good crazy, not bad crazy. But still, crazy.” She smiles, which kills me, then she walks, trawling her fingers along the edge of the fountain’s coping. I follow her, watching the spray catch in her hair like tiny crystals.
At the far side, she stops, sits on the coping, and leans so far over the edge, I’m sure she’s going to fall in. “Hey, Klee,” she says, over her shoulder, “all those wishes, how many of them do you think actually come true?” I hold to the corner of her sweater, but she ignores me, leans further, pushes her sleeve up and reaches in. She swishes her hand in the water. “I mean, there must be thousands of coins in there, right? I sure hope some of them come true.”
- gae
p.s. the next two Fridays as summer wraps, my kids go back to school, and my revisions are due to my editor will also be free-for-alls. I'll return to some structure September 8!  xox to all
* losing


  1. Gae-
    I so wanted to keep reading. I was right there, seeing the spray, feeling/hearing the swish of water.....more, more, more!

    School starts on Wed. for me. I am lucky to have a former student as a student teacher! Love the energy she brings.

    Still working on mss. Nothing new... See what you think of this one:

    Do you long to eat a special dish?
    Just tell me and
    I'll grant your wish.

    Chocolate ganache cherry torte,
    Lemon meringue,
    Some other sort?

    Cookies, pies, or bars that shine?
    Crispy treats
    That taste divine?

    My mac and cheese will make you smile.
    Al dente pasta
    Is my style.

    Perhaps you'd like some barbecue?
    My secret sauce
    Will comfort you.

    Can't decide just what to eat?
    I'll surprise you
    With a treat.

    I am the chef, you understand.
    Your favorite dish
    Is my command.

    Thanks as always for sharing and reading. Adoring from afar...


    1. Aw, Mary, love this. What is this from? And, I'll take the cherry torte. ;) As for the student as student teacher, I can imagine there's a great bond there. I bet she (she?) is excited too!

      Thanks for always stopping in.

      Happy weekend.

    2. This may be one of the poems for the mss. due on 9/1. Still sorting, still working, still thinking, still....

      The genesis for this was one of my students this last year. It is the poem I wrote for her.

    3. I almost forgot. YOU WILL ROCK THE SWIM! (no swim like a rock;-))

  2. Gae,

    I agree with Mary from Madison - I enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading. I love the details that describe the setting and the easy flow of dialogue. The picture even says it all.:)

    Good luck with the five mile swim! May the current always be at your back, and may each stroke feel easier and smoother than the last. Enjoy it!

  3. Better late than never! This excerpt was fun to write because it reminds me of summer and outdoor movies. On Sunday evening, I am showing the last outdoor movie of the summer on the front of my house - the neighbors are excited and sad (one more indication that summer is over). Here goes:

    The end of the movie gives me a warm feeling. A warm feeling that life in a movie is way better than real life, and all children movies have happy endings. The bad guy always loses in the end and the good guy lives happily ever after. All of the smiles that surround me remind me of when I was a kid, and a time when I believed that life was as good as a movie. This summer has been as good as a movie.

    When I am leaving, the kids are already begging me to come back tomorrow for another movie. They want me to bring the pretty girl back over. No problem, I am hoping to spend as much time as possible with the pretty girl until I have to go home. The crowd of kids follow me all the way to the beach trail, the trail which will take me behind the neighbor’s house and back to Grandma’s house. All of the kids give me high-fives before heading upstairs to find their parents.

    I slowly walk up the beach trail replaying the day’s events in my head. What an awesome day! I hope that Kalie is still awake when I get upstairs. The air is actually cool again tonight, a perfect night for a walk. Maybe, I’ll see if Kalie wants to sneak out for a walk down to the beach.

    My thoughts about a picture-perfect walk on the beach are interrupted by voices that give me a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I stop dead in my tracks and hide in a bush next to the stairs that lead into Grandma’s house.

    As I peer from the bushes towards the front of the house, I have located where the voices are coming from. In clear view on the right side of the driveway are the beach bullies. They are looking at the second floor of Grandma’s house and each one is carrying a bag. The meanest of the beach bullies, the one that left me almost dead on the beach trail about a week ago, has what appears to be a bag full of rocks. He is searching the bag for a rock, which I assume he is going to throw through a window. They are going to trash the street side of Grandma’s house if I don’t stop them, and without thinking, I move quietly from the bushes to stop them.

    As always, thank you for reading!

    1. Aw, Andy, I feel the end of summer in this excerpt. I can feel that august chill... interesting bit that this kid shows movies on the house. There are some repetitive words and phrases that could use some cleaning up, but I love how you capture that, and then juxtapose that upsetting event near the end. I don't like these beach bullies. Not at all. :(

      Thanks for the endless well wishes on the swim. I'm suddenly feeling a bit anxious -- five miles is a long swim. But I think I can make it. We'll find out tomorrow, won't we?! :)


    2. Andy-
      I enjoyed your excerpt! The bullies near the end surprised me nearly as much as I believe they surprised your MC. I think he surprised himself in that last line.

      Could you add some of the leave-taking chatter as MC leaves the beach? It might contrast with his quiet reflection on the trail.

      Enjoy the last few days of summer. I hope you continue to post.

    3. Andy, I agree completely with Mary. That was a surprise! It's chilling to think of encountering the person who left you almost dead.

  4. Gosh, my piece all lumped together. Used to be 3-5 paragraphs. You all got me thinking about the end of summer.Thought I had better honor summer by posting two weeks in a row. Though very late as always! From my WIP, this is the end of summer for MC Kate.

    The moon was high and bright, and clouds scudded across the indigo sky as Kate stepped onto the porch in the frosty morning darkness. Her breath showed as puffs of white clouds in the brisk air, whisked away by the frigid breeze. Tears started to her eyes, not from emotion, but simply from the shock of cold on them. Blinking away the moisture so she could see, she stepped onto the grass and headed toward the garden.
    She'd promised her students a corn-husk stalk for the corner of the class room, and Sam had said yes, certainly, when he harvested the corn he'd leave some stalks to dry.
    She'd forgotten until now, and thought to harvest one this morning before Sam came to fetch them. It would be a cozy ride, with a corn stalk in their midst, but they'd all agreed. Edna had even suggested she'd like to choose one, but not this morning. One per car trip was probably all they could manage anyway - fewer spiders down their necks that way, too. Kate smiled as she moved deliberately through the darkness to the garden.
    Light from the house spilled across the yard; though falling short of the garden path, it lit her way somewhat, and it didn't take long for her eyes to make out the dim shapes ahead of her, identifying the pumpkin patch, the tangle of runners dried on the bean poles, and at the back, the dried corn plants rising against the lightening sky. The dry rustle of the fallen husks sounded loud under her feet as she moved into the garden, wandering slowly down the rows to peer at the stalks rising like bones from under the earth.
    A sudden sound stopped her in her tracks. A sharp rustling and crackling came from just beyond the last row of corn stalks, and Kate peered cautiously through them to try and see what was there.
    She was aware that it could be something dangerous, like a mountain lion, but the sound was less stealthy than she would have attributed to a predator. She took a cautious step forward, and another. With her third step, a twig broke with a sharp crack, and there was an explosion of sound and movement from the dry stalks as a deer, leaping wild and sure, sliced past her and bounded away into the dim, cold air, the sound of its flight fading as Kate stood, breathless.
    My, what excitement before breakfast! She thought to herself. Heart still pounding, her own quick breaths loud in her ears, Kate stood a moment longer, glorying in the moment, relishing the close encounter.

  5. Hmm. Gae, I wanted to tell you that I will be pulling for you tomorrow!! I've run five miles but never ever swum nearly so far.Oh well.

    I love how much showing this is, as opposed to telling(which I'm good at - throw some more words in there!!). This is not a description, it's an experience. I guess I mean that it's got an essence about it that makes one only care about that moment. I feel the touch and the droplets of water, and the sheer hoepfulness.

  6. Thanks, Valerie. I made it! I will put together a post about in the next few days...

    This excerpt -- this piece of writing is just exquisite. Such lovely imagery...

    The only thing I would say is that the writing is so good, I don't think you need this clarification that it is Kate thinking:

    My, what excitement before breakfast! She thought to herself. Heart still pounding, her own quick breaths loud in her ears, Kate stood a moment longer, glorying in the moment, relishing the close encounter.

    I think you can just leave it at the exclamation. Or, if you want, italicize the sentence "My, what excitement before breakfast!" We know she thinks it to herself because she's alone -- save for that deer -- in the cornfield.

    Just love it! Keep going.

    1. Oh, Gae,
      Congratulations on such an accomplishment - I look forward to hearing!
      And thanks so much for that praise; exquisite imagery is what I dream of writing... I've been going back at the suggestion of everyone who reads pieces of this work and getting rid of those extraneous bits - trying trying trying to get back to showing, not telling. Of course we know that it's Kate, thinking - it's understood if I do the rest well. Thanks for that. Piece by piece, I'll make it shine.